Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Alec Baldwin, May/June 2004
(continued from page 1)
A few thoughts about cigars and the pleasure of smoking them. I first started smoking cigars in my twenties. My father and I had a cabin in northern Minnesota and I used to fly my single-engine plane up there regularly in the summer to fish. One hot sultry day we were out on the lake and the bugs were ferocious. My dad, however, didn't seem bothered. It suddenly dawned on me why. He chain-smoked unfiltered Camels. I went to the bait shop and all they had were Swisher Sweets, but they worked!
A few years later I vacationed in Jamaica and decided to splurge on a box of Macanudo Claybournes ($15). What a revelation! Cigars could actually taste good! The rest is history. Just for the record, my regular "daytime" cigar is La Vieja Habana; my "nightime" cigar is a Puros Indios. I visit Paris two to three times a year, so I have the chance to smoke all the Cubans. But in my opinion, the exiled cigarmakers are doing a better job.
Here's a bit of my history. My grandfather came to this country from Greece as a boy and when he got to Chicago, he discovered that his relatives had all been felled by the influenza epidemic. Some friends of his relatives took him in and he lived in a bar and literally slept on the bar at night. He earned money by shining shoes for a nickel. One day a cigar salesman visited and commented that sales weren't that good compared with other bars in the area. My grandfather made a deal to buy cigars from him for a penny and sell them for three cents (keeping a penny, giving the bar a penny), and sales tripled! He saved every cent and eventually bought his own bar. So if not for cigars, who knows, I might not even be here!